: : The Montreal Tiki scene experienced a great loss this past October with the closing of the Hawaii Kai lounge in Bill Wong’s restaurant on Décarie. The M.T.A.S. had discovered the Hawaii Kai only a month before. What made the Hawaii Kai special was the fact that it was the only tiki “bar” we’d found in the Montreal area (that is, it was just a bar, not a Polynesian restaurant/bar). You can read a full description of the Hawaii Kai’s decor, including its grotto-like walls and the thatched roof over the bar, in the last issue of Mai Tai. : :

: : We decided to return to the Hawaii Kai a little less than a month after our first visit. The Hawaii Kai was chosen as the ideal place to sit and have a few drinks while being interviewed for an article appearing in the Nite Life issue of the Montreal Mirror. Imagine our shock and disappointment when we arrived to find that the Hawaii Kai had been completely stripped of every element of its Polynesian decor and turned into the drab Billie’s Bar... they even tore off the cave-like effect from the walls! As I was one of the first on the scene, I immediately went about finding the person responsible for the atrocity to which we were witness. After accosting two young women working at the bar (“What the hell happened to the way the place used to look…? …but who the hell would want to get rid of the lamps?), I asked to speak to the manager… no, not Bill himself but some other guy. By this time, other Society members had arrived and, after their initial shock had worn off, our thoughts immediately turned to trying to get our paws on whatever might be left of the bar’s decor. We interrupted the restaurant manager as he was sitting down to his dinner and, not only did he not look too happy about the interruption but I also got the feeling that I went a little overboard with my comments regarding his bar’s new decor. I began to explain the whole idea behind the M.T.A.S., the newspaper interview, and our interest in finding out what became of the bar’s decor… but the guy just stared at me with a mouthful of noodles hanging from his lips, thinking it was all some kind of joke. When he realized I was serious, he completely lost all trace of emotion in his face and got some busboy to take some of us through the kitchen and up into a storage room where he said we’d find some of the Hawaii Kai’s lamps. : :

: : We began digging through boxes of junk… old blenders, Christmas decorations, tools… but unfortunately, we didn’t come across anything that looked like bamboo, mesh, or part of a papier-maché wall. Then, the busboy, enthusiastically helping us in our search, even though he didn’t quite get the point, led us to some shelves in a corner of the room… Jackpot! Several of the Hawaii Kai’s lamps were sitting there in boxes! Blowfish lamps, clamshell lamps, little bamboo pagoda-like lamps… We rushed back into the restaurant to strike up a deal with the manager. This is when we realized what a stone-cold guy he really was… I’ll sum up the bargaining process (which went on non-stop for 45 minutes): : :

“No, I didn’t say you could have the lamps… you can make me an offer.”

“But you threw out everything from the bar… ”

“I kept the lamps.”

“Come on man… ”

“I don’t know… some of those lamps were like 2 or 3 hundred dollars when they were new.”

“They’ve got 30 years of dust on them!”

“Yeah but lamps like that are hard to find these days.”

: : Bottom line: 6 lamps (including 2 blowfish) for 80 bucks. : :

: : And with the closing of the Hawaii Kai, the M.T.A.S. expands its mission of meeting for drinks in tiki joints once a month to rescuing endangered neo-Polynesian artifacts. Don’t say we’re not doing the world any good. : :

Salon – Lounge Hawaii Kai

7965 Decarie Boulevard

Montreal, Quebec



John Trivisonno © 1999

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